What's Your Deal, Washington State?

Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel has thrown for at least 200 yards in all seven games this season.

Wherein I profile some of Washington State's key players in the week leading up to Saturday's game.
Check back for more in the coming days.

What's Jeff Tuel's deal?

Tuel started five games as a true freshman last season, but did not play against Stanford in the Cardinal's season-opening win. The sophomore has thrown 10 touchdowns against 7 interceptions this season, while completing 58 percent of his passes. It's a wonder his numbers are that decent considering how many times he's been on his back. Washington State has allowed an NCAA-worst 29 sacks in seven games, including seven in last week's loss to Arizona. Stanford, by contrast, has allowed three sacks through six games. Things won't get any easier for Tuel or the Cougars against Stanford, with freshman John Fullington set to start at left tackle. If Tuel's career turns out anything like the only other true freshman quarterback to start at Washington State, the fans in Pullman will be very happy. No, it wasn't Ryan Leaf. Drew Bledsoe started five games in 1990.

What's James Montgomery's deal?

That offensive line that is at least partly to blame for all those sacks? It hasn't done much for the Cougars' running game either. Washington State ranks 116th in the nation in rushing, so it's no surprise that Montgomery, their "leader" in that category, is averaging less than 45 yards per game. Montgomery was bottled up by Arizona's stingy defense on Saturday and finished with 24 yards on 13 carries. That wasn't even the senior's worst performance of the year. He rushed for three yards on eight carries in a 50-16 loss to USC.  Washington State ranked last in the Pac-10 in rushing and allowed 24 more sacks than any other Pac-10 team in 2009, leading to the firing of the offensive line coach during the offseason.

What's Marquess Wilson's deal?

Wilson has been a major bright spot for the Cougars during a mostly bleak season. The lanky receiver has four 100-yard games as a true freshman--breaking the school record previously set by Phillip Bobo in 1990--and is averaging 18.5 yards per catch. Stanford, which allowed 200+ yards to USC's Robert Woods, should know better than to take a freshman receiver lightly. Wilson is tied with Jared Karstetter for the team lead in receptions with 35.

What's Paul Wulff's deal?

Wulff is 4-28 in two-plus years as head coach at Washington State, but has managed to lure a number of talented recruits to Pullman. The Cougars' continued improvement or lack thereof in the second half of the season could determine whether Wulff sticks around long enough to see his rebuilding project through.

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